Replanting for Sustainable Coconut Industry
("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 44, Series No. 3, 1 March 2014)
greet our stakeholders in APCC member countries including
the friends of coconut that are able to access this month’s
edition of Cocommunity. The challenge of maintaining production
levels of coconut oil is continually encountered by copra
producing countries. Philippine production was affected by
typhoon Hayan however measures are being put in place to recover
from damage done to affected coconut population of some 15
million trees. Growers in Pacific countries are continually
discouraged by fluctuation in price of copra hence the declining
production trend. Strategic changes in the move to higher
value coconut products would further restrain CNO production
levels. Increasing market prices and production of higher
value coconut products would place demand on supply of coconuts.
The importance of replacing senile palms and planting of new
trees also with use of elite planting material is to be pursued
far more seriously than ever before to avoid shortage of coconuts
for processing requirements to meet increasing demand for
all marketable coconut products.
The Government of India through its Coconut Development Board
has embarked on several interesting modular programs in the
coconut sector. One initiative drawing acclaim is the involvement
of youth in the ‘Friends of Coconut Tree’ program
where young men and women are trained with new innovative
tree climbing equipment for the safe harvesting of coconut
palms. Important to note was also the successful models in
the mobilising of growers at farm level in viable groupings
for the purpose of collective farm practices, processing and
marketing which has positive impact on increase in productivity.
India has opened doors to share some of its successful models
with its fellow APCC member countries.
The strategies for development of the coconut sector in the
Asia Pacific region were adopted for implementation by APCC
member countries at the 50th Session/Ministerial Meeting held
at Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia last month.
This is a very strategic move to unite the countries in development
partnership through exchange of coconut knowledge, experience
and technology including plant material resources, where agreeable,
to improve productivity and increase production of coconut.
The potential for technology transfer from Asia to Pacific
will be very beneficial economically for small coconut farmers
in Pacific region.
At the end of the day, the small coconut farmers should be
convinced, not only of the viability of the coconut crop but
its overwhelming usefulness to mankind and humanity not to
mention its endless support to the livelihood of many thousands
of marginalised rural families. This motivates growers to
continue planting. The call for sustainability in the coconut
sector were formed in the words of the Honourable Katia Pinto,
Minister for Commerce, Industry & Cooperatives of Kiribati
who by exchanging the word ‘fish’ in the old Chinese
proverb with ‘coconut’ went on to quote; “if
you give a man a coconut you feed him for the day, but when
you teach a man to plant coconut, you feed him for the rest
of his life”.
For the benefit of the many generations to come it is our
desire in the Asian and Pacific region to increase the population
of coconut trees. We ask of every man, women and school-aged
children in coconut growing regions to place amongst the high
priority activities in life to plant a coconut tree.